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Posts tagged with: "JTU3000QUR"

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Which workers quit more?

Obviously, workers move from job to job over time and across sectors of the economy. FRED has some convenient release tables you can use to create a graph like the one above, which shows the rate of voluntary turnover (quits) for workers in four sectors: accommodation and food services, retail trade, manufacturing, and government. It’s striking that the ranking of these sectors doesn’t change despite variations in their levels of employment over time.

The consistency of these and other sectors becomes even more striking once you strip out the seasonal adjustments, as in the graph below, created with another convenient release table. In fact, seasonal variation seems to be stronger than variation caused by the business cycle. For example, people quit more when the unemployment rate is lower.

If we look closely, we can see some details: It’s remarkable that, on a regular basis, monthly quits in accommodation and food services represent about 5% of that workforce. And, in both graphs, the government sector consistently has the lowest quit rate. Given the right circumstances, of course, even consistent patterns can change.

How these graphs were created: Go to the release tables noted above, select the series you want displayed, and click “Add to Graph.”

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

View on FRED, series used in this post: JTS3000QUR, JTS4400QUR, JTS7200QUR, JTS9000QUR, JTU3000QUR, JTU4000QUR, JTU510099QUR, JTU7200QUR, JTU9000QUR

Characterizing the decline of manufacturing employment

Are manufacturing workers being fired or quitting?

Many lament the decline of manufacturing employment. The graph above illustrates this decline since 2000; expanding the sample period reveals that manufacturing employment hasn’t increased in any notable fashion since the 1960s, despite a steady increase in the working-age population. The question we’re asking today is whether this decline is due to workers leaving the manufacturing sector voluntarily or not. The graph below shows that there’s no clear answer: Quits and layoffs are roughly of the same magnitude. They also fluctuate considerably through the year, with seasonal factors being quite important. Obviously, there are more layoffs during recessions, but this isn’t something specific to manufacturing.

The next graph tries to put these numbers into perspective: Adding the layoffs and the quits and comparing them with the hires highlights the considerable churn in the labor market. Indeed, it’s not that obvious that there’s a decline in employment or that hires are systematically lower. In other words, there’s considerable movement in the market for manufacturing workers and only a small part of it is about the sector downsizing its labor force.

How these graphs were created: For the first graph, search for “manufacturing employment” and select the series that isn’t seasonally adjusted. Start the sample period in December 2000. For the second graph, search for “manufacturing layoffs” and select the monthly rate without seasonal adjustment. From the “Edit Graph” section, use the “Add Line” option to search for “manufacturing quits” and again select the monthly rate without seasonal adjustment. For the third graph, start with manufacturing layoffs as in the second graph, from “Edit Graph” edit the existing line by adding “manufacturing quits,” and apply the formula a+b. Then use “Add Line” again to search for and add “manufacturing hires.”

Suggested by Christian Zimmermann.

View on FRED, series used in this post: CEU3000000001, JTU3000HIR, JTU3000LDR, JTU3000QUR

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